Category Archives: Live Events

Music, language and hearing (or not)

There’s really much, much more to this video by Charles Limb than the couple of points I’m about to select but here goes….

There is a very clear depiction, at 06:15, of the difference of range of frequencies (Hz) and level (dB) in music and language.

There is also an interesting demonstration, at 07:07, of how those of us with normal hearing take pitch perception for granted – compared to cochlear implant patients, whose perception can be out by as much as two octaves[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/bTE0MRRXNzs?rel=0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

There is also a very interesting talk on neuroscience and musical improvisation by the same author here – look out for great demo of piano improvisation by Keith Jarret at 01:15 – including some nice ‘outside playing‘ at 02:08 [kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/BomNG5N_E_0?rel=0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

 

 

One World Night

Last night I took part in an extraordinary event in Musselburgh Grammar School. Organised by Maya, a pupil in S4, One World Night featured an imaginative mix of pupil performance and presentations on humanitarian themes by guest speakers and pupils of MGS and Campie Primary School. The event was warmly compèred by Fiona O’Donnell, MP for East Lothian.

MGS Orchestra opened with the Prelude from Charpentier’s Te Deum, followed by an arrangement of Over The Rainbow. John Cunningham then gave a presentation on the work of Mercy Corps. MGS Guitar Group performed Tárrega’s Recuerdos de la Alhambra before Katherine and Roanna described the work of the MGS Amnesty Group and the necessity of speaking out against injustice.

After the interval, six pupil members the local branch of the Alpha Dance Academy gave a fantastic performance of Jai Ho from the film, Slum Dog Millionaire. This was an energetic and impressive mix of Indian and en pointe styles.

P7 pupils from Campie PS spoke eloquently about the school’s links with a Burmese refugee school (CDC) in Thailand, and also about the recently released Aung San Suu Kyi. Having listened to an edition of Radio 4’s Word of Mouth earlier in the week in which schools in the U.S. were praised for nurturing confidence in public speaking, I couldn’t help feeling that Campie’s presentations were as confident and capable as it was possible to find. On this note, I also couldn’t help noticing some of my P6 pupils from Campie listening intently throughout the evening – an impressive counter to current worries about young people’s attention span.

Edinburgh based lawyer, Alison Smith talked about the Dalit (Untouchable caste) in India. I had no idea that so many people suffered such exclusion – 150 million – that’s 30 Scotlands!

Shirley gave a heartfelt performance of Leonard Cohen’s Alleluia, accompanied on guitar by Amy. The final presentation by Susan Dalgety (vice-chair of the Scotland-Malawi Partnership) described Scotland’s historic links with Malawi.

In her vote of thanks at the evening’s close, Maya informed us that £264 had been raised during the evening. This had been a moving mix of entertainment, information and philanthropy. I was particularly indebted to my pupils at MGS. As a result of the holidays and the itinerant nature of my work, they were asked only on the previous Friday if they would be free and willing to take part. Almost all were able to make it, happy to be there and engaged by all the speakers.

Big Guitar Weekend

Next weekend is Big Guitar Weekend, Scotland’s guitar event of the year. Housed in the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (map here) and directed by Allan Neave, it comprises courses, master classes and concerts.

The artists involved can be seen on the event’s dedicated website. Those involved include, Paul GalbraithPavel Steidl and Haddington’s own Malcolm MacFarlane. You can see a photo-stream of some of the people and places involved here.

Sadly, I’m going to miss most of this as I’ll be preparing for the launch of this:

The attendant website, www.loveburns.co.uk goes live on 5 Nov.

We are Macmillan

I’m just back from what has now become an annual East Lothian charity event, organised by our very own Maxine Wilson on behalf of Macmillan Cancer Support. Instrumental Instructors in East Lothian schools put forward soloists and small groups for two (different) programmes. Tonight’s – the first of two – was sold out. I had two hats this evening: one as accompanist for former NBHS singer, Zoe Moskal-Guy, and the other directing a small group of MGS guitarists.

By coincidence, I sent off today the master of Love Burns – an album featuring Zoe and me, along with some very special guests. In a few weeks 1,000 copies will be delivered and the website www.loveburns.co.uk will go live. Watch this space…

Playing with the small MGS group (7 pupils) was a treat. We played a piece which we aired in 2010’s East Lothian Showcase Concert – that time with a much bigger group – around 40 players. With only 7, everyone can hear one another and it’s possible to play in a much freer way, without the necessity of a rigid beat to keep together. I was extremely proud of their sensitive performance – and grateful to all for cheerfully giving up their evening for this worthy cause. Many thanks to all involved.

This was the 2nd nice event of the week, coming a few days after Sunday’s ELjam Showcase Concert in the Brunton Theatre. It’s nice to see pupils (and staff) from across the county coming together in such positive settings.

Lammermuir Festival 2011

It’s difficult to believe that East Lothian-based readers will not have heard of The Lammermuir Festival 2011, which kicked off yesterday, but just in case click here to find out more. Last year’s inaugural festival was excellent with an unbelievable range of genres and venues. I’m attending seven concerts over the next eight days and will be reviewing for Bachtrack here.  Many East Lothian pupils will be involved, gaining valuable, hand-on experience of life in the arts.

Edinburgh International Guitar Festival

Guitarists in the Edinburgh/Lothians area may be interested in this year’s Edinburgh International Guitar Festival, run by my friend and colleague, Mike McGeary. Amongst other things, the weekend (23/24 Sept) features two recitals in Duddingston Kirk (map here) – both of which are open to the public:

Friday 23 Sept at 19:30 – Sean Shibe (2011 Gold Medalist in ROSL Annual Music Competition) – read a crit where The Herald’s Michael Tumelty explains how Sean ‘turned him on to classical guitar’

Saturday 24 Sept at 19:30 – Allan Neave, Lecturer in Guitar at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

During the day of Saturday 24, Allan will be running a workshop and masterclass.

You can see/download details of all the above here: Festival Brochure 2011

Nearing the end…

…of term – quite a busy week with two excellent evening of Oliver at Wallyford Primary School and MGS Prize Giving. Tomorrow sees some former pupils of Wallyford returning to the school to play in the Leavers’ Ceremony – always a nice occasion.

In the meantime, I just received the latest Neuromusic newsletter, which features the programme (with abstracts) of the recent Neurosciences and Music conference. There’s a lot of text here but very interesting:

http://www.fondazione-mariani.org/images/stories/NMIV/NMIVProgramAbstracts(web).pdf

Have a great summer everyone and thanks for looking in.

It never rains but it pours…

… I hate that expression – but anyway.

Tomorrow sees the Neuromusic IV conference kick off. I’ve been looking forward to this for ages. I intend to write up (m)any interesting things when it’s over (it runs till Sunday). Fittingly the conference closes with a concert and jazz session, at which I have offered to play what has become one of my favourite tunes (see video below).

On Saturday evening, I’ll be taking time out for a much loved musical experience – a Calton Consort concert (what a poet!) Had that not been on, I’d have gone along to this Edinburgh Contemporary Music Ensemble event. I’ve just been listening to some audio from previous events.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/S2vDLzyD0Go?rel=0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

TeachMeet 2011

This evening I’m heading up to TeachMeet 2011 chez Scottish Book Trust as one of the 7-minute presenters.

My theme is Literacy, Numeracy and Games in Instrumental Lessons. Seven minutes will allow a an average of 6 seconds per slide. So it will be a broad brush, hurried affair with the intention that people can download the ppt from here.

So here it is: Literacy-Numeracy-Games-in-Instrumental-Lessons